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Openness Mind: Self-knowledge and Inner Peace through Meditation (Nyingma Psychology Series) Paperback – January 1, 1990
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"I think Westerners can automatically understand many of Buddha's beginning teachings because there is a lot of frustration here. We can understand a great deal just by studying our own life experience." The author lets us know as Westerners that we can use our own culture and background as a powerful way to access the Dharma. Buddha didn't teach for the benefit of Asians only; Buddhism and the Dharma is meant for everybody willing to step on the path.
"Our senses are nourished when we become quiet and relaxed. We can experience each sense, savoring its essence. To do this, touch on one aspect of the senses, and then allow the feeling to go farther. As we go to an even deeper level, we can intensify and enjoy the values and the satisfaction to be found there."..."We can explore the creamy texture of our deeper feelings, and contact an ever subtler level of beauty within our bodies and senses. Within the open space of meditation we can find infinite joy and perfect bliss." You can read and study dozens, maybe hundreds, of texts in Western philosophy and religion going back to Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, and Aquinas, but you will not find anything in any of those ancient and medieval texts like what Tarthang Tulku has written here.
"When you realize that everything is like a dream, you attain pure awareness. And the way to attain this awareness is to realize that all experience is like a dream." The author presents the teaching of dream yoga in such an approachable and easy-to-understand way. This will be a unique experience for Westerners, since, sadly, we lack comparable teachings within our Western tradition.
Tarthang Tulku relates a number of unforgettable stories about old Tibet. This is one I recall in my own words: One young lama bragged about his fearlessness in doing the Chod practice of calling out to demons while sitting alone is a spooky cemetery at night. The other lamas got tired of his bragging and one night they smeared their bodies with sulphur paste so they glowed. When the young lama called out to the demons that night, all the glowing lamas came out from hiding and moved toward him. Seeing this sight, the young lama took to his heels, fast! The next morning at breakfast, the lamas didn't have to listen to all his bragging about his Chod practice and fearlessness. Rather, he ate in silence.
What a wonderful book! Thank you Tarthang Tulku.
Tarthang Tulku describes his book as a `trail guide' to extending the insights gained from meditation throughout our lives. The `openness' of the title is key. When we open our senses, the grip of ego automatically relaxes. Body and mind synchronise. As we open to the world, the relationships between thoughts and emotions, between sensations and awareness, clarify and transform. Here we find balance, enjoyment and peace. This is the way beyond fear and frustration into effective, unconflicted action.
Although the book is not primarily a meditation manual, Tarthang Tulkus presents several simple exercises that are helpful as a supplements to the fundamental shi-nè practice.
The book is written in exceptionally clear, straightforward English. More experienced readers may be surprised to see subtle concepts from Dzogchen--normally buried in layers of arcane academic complexity--presented painlessly in plain language. For beginners, the challenge is to read the book slowly and carefully enough to catch its profundity. The ease of the prose makes it easy to glide over what often sounds like simple common sense, without noticing how radical the path it describes actually is.
Tarthang Tulku's approach is unfailingly gentle and sweet. If you prefer a more rugged style, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism (Shambhala Library) covers much of the same material.